Thursday, May 17, 2007


Iran given preferential treatment for southern Iraq contracts

(Azzaman) - Prime Miniter Nour al-Maliki has given Iran preferential treatment in winning contracts in southern Iraq. The move signals the growing influence Tehran exercises in the country particularly in southern provinces where Iraq’s largest and most prolific oil fields are situated.
Maliki is reported to have officially invited Iranian firms to construct four refineries in the area which recently has been the scene of sporadic fighting between Shiite militias – which are generally pro-Tehran – and U.S. and Iraqi troops.
The Iranian firms are to make their offers to build these refineries. The Oil Ministry has asked foreign firms to submit their offers to start working on the 10 refineries. The countries are now considering building a pipeline to carry Iraqi crude to Iranian refineries in Abadan. As foreign firms are reluctant to work in Iraq due to the upsurge in violence, the Iranians seem to be willing to replace them despite security concerns.

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